The systematic sequencing of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) genomes has identified the recurrent mutation of IDH1, a gene encoding NADP(+)-dependent isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) that catalyzes the oxidative decarboxylation of isocitrate yielding alpha-ketoglutarate (alpha-KG). Subsequent studies have confirmed recurrent IDH1 and IDH2 mutations in up to 70% of low-grade glioma and secondary GBM, as well as in 10% of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cases. The heterozygous somatic mutations at arginine R132 (IDH1) and at R140 or R172 (IDH2) in the enzyme active site confer a gain of function to the enzymes, which can both produce the metabolite 2-hydroxyglutarate. This review surveys the prevalence of IDH mutations in cancer and explores current mechanistic understanding of IDH mutations with implications for diagnostic and therapeutic development for the treatment of gliomas and AML.
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